I don't want John McCain to be President, but swift-boating him is beyond the pale, period.
I swear I'll get off the genre kick soon, but in the meantime, my next column is up, a rave about the BBC's State of Play, which should be considered a classic of the thriller genre:
There was a time roughly corresponding with the 1970s heyday of American cinema when great thrillers like The Conversation and Dog Day Afternoon were regularly churned out by Hollywood. Nowadays, crackerjack entertainments such as the Bourne movies only come around once in awhile to remind us how it is done, and artistically successful thrillers that don’t trade in violent spectacle are an endangered species. Thankfully, other countries have kept up the tradition, and if one is willing to look for them, good foreign-made thrillers are out there for the taking. One recent example, the BBC’s 2003 miniseries, State of Play, has finally been released on DVD in the United States in anticipation of its Hollywood remake, and it is a sterling example of what a thriller can be: stylish, expertly crafted and addictively suspenseful.
Etc. etc... RTWT here and, if you get a chance, watch the miniseries.
Article Title: Treasury Rolls Out Overhaul of Financial Regulators
Appearing In: The NY Times
First Paragraph: Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. on Monday formally laid out an ambitious plan to overhaul the regulatory apparatus that oversees the nation’s financial system. Senior lawmakers and industry lobbyists predicted that most of the plan would run into difficulty.
Important Paragrah: The administration’s proposal will do almost nothing to regulate the alphabet soup of sophisticated financial products that have fueled the financial crisis. And it will not rein in practices that have been linked to the mortgage crisis, like packaging risky loans into securities carrying the highest ratings.
Important Paragraph's Placement in Article: Paragraph 12
Wow, March was a busy month. Anne and I applied for a major grant, I moved forward with the whole grad school process, I curated a reading series, got a job as a columnist and put up two Rapid Response Team's. Sheesh! I sorta hadn't realized how busy it was until this past weekend when Anne and I were out to dinner. I think my output on this blog might've diminished a bit because of all of this. I used to do like at least one substantive post a weekday. I don't think there's any way I can keep that up in light of everything else I'm doing, but I still love little ole Parabasis, and much of what I accomplished in the last month wouldn't have been possible without it, so I still plan on sticking around and writing as much as I can. Over the next few weeks, I'll have a day job which might make those efforts a bit more complicated, but we'll see. Thanks for staying tuned.
For those of you who missed FGBW, which unfortunately closed this weekend... alls I can say is hot damn those Vampire Cowboys know how to put on a good show. One of the more consistently funny and inventive plays I've seen in a long time. Robert Ross Parker directed the shit out of Qui Nguyen's hilarious, cliche-ridden script. My personal favorite moment was a small grace note involving a floating dead body in outer space...
Anne and I saw it on Saturday and multiple times on Sunday we'd be sitting around and then of us would start giggling and would have to explain to the other one which part of the show they were remembering. The last time I felt that way was after Hot Fuzz so let me just say it... Fight Girl Battle World was the Hot Fuzz of plays. Pure, unadulterated, unapologetic fun delivered smartly on a gleaming technicolor plate.
John McCain's first national spot:
Two things that lead me to conclude it's terrible. First: the line The American President Americans have been waiting for sounds like it was written to be on The Simpsons. Second, the specific way his POW times are used in the ad gave me the jibblies.
1 As an effort to clean out their inventory, Rocketship is having a big sale. Buy two trades, get one free! The sale lasts all weekend. I just picked up Rudu Modan's Exit Wounds, David B.'s Epileptic and Megan Kelso's The Squirrel Mother for under $50.00! Not bad... not bad at all!
2 If you are looking for trades to buy at that sale, might I suggest you pick up both Box Office Poison and Tricked by Alex Robinson? I'm working on a profile of Robinson for Buzzine, and thus have had the distinct pleasure of catching up on his work. The man is absurdly talented. He's like the Altman of comic books, a humanist and a cynic at the same time, able to create whole worlds out of individual characters, and, as he reveals in Tricked a sure hand at dense levels of thematic and narrative complexity. Oh, and both books are also cracking good yarns.
Hey, did you know that the Governor promised a $528 million increase to NY State's basic operating aid to New York City?
Did you know that they then cut that amount to $335 Million?
Did you know that the Mayor committed to raise NYC's investment in children's education to $2.2 billion over four years, but is now taking back roughly $180 million of that, and cutting $324 million next year? (For those doing the math, that's roughly half a billion less than promised)?
Did you know that the public school around the corner from me, where most of my friends' kids go to school, had its budget cut by roughly $70,000 midschool year, after the money had been already allocated to cover school supplies and other needed materials?
See, this is what politicians do. They promise to help our kids and invest in our schools and get lots of plaudits for it, and then they don't keep their promises and the public doesn't hold them to it.
Well, you can do something about it!
Today is KEEP THE PROMISES' call in day. All you gotta do is this (it takes, I swear to god, five minutes):
(1) Call 1-877-255-9417.
(2) Give them your zip code
(3) Urge your State Senator and Member of the Assembly to fight for the Assembly budget bill, which keeps the promised school budgets intact and pays for it with a 1% tax hike on people who make more than $1mil a year.
It's not hard, it's the right thing to do, it supports our public schools and helps keep politicians honest.
While I do some prepping for more substantive blog posts here are some links to keep you occupied:
(1) Matt Yglesias makes the case for partisanship here. The most fascinating thing for me in this article is how Yglesias makes the case that race is in fact the secret story behind the history of and debates about partisanship in Congress.
(2) Here's a photo gallery of some truly terrifying playgrounds. Many of them, as if you couldn't guess, were made in the Soviet Union.
(3) Naomi "Isaac Butler's Hero" Klein and Jeremy Scahill on withdrawing from Iraq
(4) Henry Siegman, a former member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the director of the US/Middle East Project comments on "the great mideast peace scam". Why is it a scam? :
In fact, all previous peace initiatives have got nowhere for a reason that neither Bush nor the EU has had the political courage to acknowledge. That reason is the consensus reached long ago by Israel’s decision-making elites that Israel will never allow the emergence of a Palestinian state which denies it effective military and economic control of the West Bank. To be sure, Israel would allow – indeed, it would insist on – the creation of a number of isolated enclaves that Palestinians could call a state, but only in order to prevent the creation of a binational state in which Palestinians would be the majority.
The Middle East peace process may well be the most spectacular deception in modern diplomatic history. Since the failed Camp David summit of 2000, and actually well before it, Israel’s interest in a peace process – other than for the purpose of obtaining Palestinian and international acceptance of the status quo – has been a fiction that has served primarily to provide cover for its systematic confiscation of Palestinian land and an occupation whose goal, according to the former IDF chief of staff Moshe Ya’alon, is ‘to sear deep into the consciousness of Palestinians that they are a defeated people’. In his reluctant embrace of the Oslo Accords, and his distaste for the settlers, Yitzhak Rabin may have been the exception to this, but even he did not entertain a return of Palestinian territory beyond the so-called Allon Plan, which allowed Israel to retain the Jordan Valley and other parts of the West Bank.
Anyone familiar with Israel’s relentless confiscations of Palestinian territory – based on a plan devised, overseen and implemented by Ariel Sharon – knows that the objective of its settlement enterprise in the West Bank has been largely achieved. Gaza, the evacuation of whose settlements was so naively hailed by the international community as the heroic achievement of a man newly committed to an honourable peace with the Palestinians, was intended to serve as the first in a series of Palestinian bantustans. Gaza’s situation shows us what these bantustans will look like if their residents do not behave as Israel wants.
You really should read the whole thing!
(5) Finally, what could be better than Craig Bierko interviewing John Malkovich? Howabout Craig Bierko interviewing John Malkovich while they take a bath together!. No, I am not fucking shitting you. Watch it here.
Please tell me this is a joke... please? It's gotta be, right? I haven't read supposed feminism this ridiculous since Urbaniak
created (see comments)-- er, combatted-- a radical feminist anti-Urbaniak persona on LiveJournal...
The life expectancy gap between rich and poor has doubled since 1980. Now why can't those poor people just lift themselves up and get good health care?! Don't they know we have the best system in the world!
Might I recommend Heather Weston? She did some portrait photos for me awhile ago, and is totally awesome. A lot of fun to work with and she has very reasonable rates!
Here are some samples of her work (click on thumbnails to enlarge... fans of The Wire might just recognize one of these people!):
You can contact Heater at 646.382.6455 or e-mail heather at heatherweston dot com!
So last week I posted that i was busy with writing that wasn't Parabasis-related. Some of that was for The Rapid Response Team to provide coverage on some stories we wanted to get to. But some of that was for my new gig as a columnist for the online magazine Buzzine. My first column is up today!
Amidst the positive reviews and good sales that greeted Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, Ruth Franklin issued a rallying cry for literati the world over. Franklin, a Senior Editor at The New Republic, began her evaluation of Chabon’s work in Slate.com thusly: “Michael Chabon has spent considerable energy trying to drag the decaying corpse of genre fiction out of the shallow grave where writers of serious literature abandoned it.” This sentence began what was ultimately a positive evaluation of Chabon’s science fiction neo-noir. Reading her essay, certain questions emerge: What is all of this attention to “seriousness”? How does one pass or fail a “seriousness” test? What’s wrong with writing “genre fiction”? And what is “genre fiction” anyway?
To find out, read the rest here.
How is it okay for a host of a show to say this about Barack Obama accepting Gov. Bill Richardson's endorsement?:
Tonight, Senator [Barack] Obama wins the endorsement of the nation's only Hispanic governor, Bill Richardson. Is Obama pandering to ethnocentric special interests again?
Excuse me for a moment if I wax vitriolic. Bill Richardson is a prominent Democratic Governor, a former congressman, a former Ambassador to the United Nations and the former US Secretary of Energy. He was chairman of the 2004 Democratic National Convention. He was chairman of the Democrat Governors Association for two years. He has been a negotiator who negotiated the release of American prisoners and hostages in North Korea, Iraq and Cuba.
But because he's Hispanic, Obama accepting his endorsement means he's pandering to ethnocentric special interests "again" (when was the first time again?). Because you see, people of color, like Jews in the 19th and early 20th century, have a divided loyalty. Unlike virtuous white men like Lou Dobbs, they aren't really citizens, they only advocate their narrow set of ethnic self-interest. So there's no way that Bill Richardson could be offering his endorsement as a politician. You see, he's hispanic. And that means that he was acting as a hispanic, not a person.
Similarly, Barack Obama accepting his endorsement means that he's sending out secret code to the Elders of Color, an elite syndicate of dark, greasy scary foreigners who secretly are trying to overthrow the US Government.
Jesus Christ this stuff pisses me off. The other day i was reading commentary on whether or not Bill Richardson grew a beard in order to appear more Latino in time to endorse Obama in order to bridge the legendary (and possibly mythical) antagonism between the two voting block.
So... what? Does Dobbs have to say the n word to get kicked off the air or something? Disgraceful.
Mark Armstrong brings to our attention an interesting article by Charles McNulty which documents how Jack O'Brien was succeeded at the Old Globe by a CEO and (working underneath him) two artistic director. CEO/Executive Producer Spisto has final artistic say in programming at the Old Globe.
The great dream of regional theater was that it was going to give artists the tools necessary to do their work and run their own businesses. But, when times get tough, the first things to go are always those pesky artists. First it was the repertory companies, then the resident directors and designers. Now the artistic directors are being moved aside or diminished, unless their commercial credentials are sufficient.
Mike Daisey discusses in How Theater Failed America the corporate model of theatrical governance and how the adoption of corporate values (constant growth over sustainability, downsizes and outsourcing of labor, etc) has hurt the regional theater movement. This is all of a piece with what Mark and Charles are talking about here, with the adoption of a CEO model of corporate governance.
So if the Old Globe is run by a CEO, imports Broadway productions and serves as a nonprofit front for regional try outs for enhanced) commercial shows and turns a handsome profit... why is it still a charity? I'm not just asking that to be indignant/argumentative or whatever... what justification would a board member of the Old Globe offer for why it is "non profit"?